Friday, January 22, 2010

Choucroute Garni (Page 497)

RECIPE #1084

  • Date: Friday, January 1, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Dave and Karen's House
  • Dining Companions: Dave, Karen H, Deniz, Brad, and Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B+

It is a tradition in my special gentleman's family to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day. I happily volunteered to make this recipe from The Book to fulfill that tradition. I started by soaking the sauerkraut in cold water, changing the water once. Then I drained and squeezed it. I cooked some bacon in a pot, then removed the bacon and browned some smoked pork chops in the bacon fat. I then removed the pork chops and cooked onions and garlic in some of the bacon/pork chop fat (reserving the rest of the fat for later). I added sauerkraut, bacon, carrots, Riesling, chicken stock, juniper berries, bay leaf, caraway seeds, and pepper. Then I nestled the pork chops in the sauerkraut and covered the pot. I brought it to a simmer, then put it in the oven to braise for a while. Meanwhile, I boiled some bratwurst until they were cooked, then browned them in the bacon/pork chop fat which I had reserved earlier. I nestled the bratwurst in the sauerkraut, then braised the whole thing some more. I peeled some Yukon Gold potatoes, halved them, and boiled them until tender. I served the potatoes with the meat and sauerkraut. This recipe made a ton of food. It claims to serve 6 to 8, but there were 6 of us and we barely made a dent! With five and a half pounds of meat in it, it was a lot for 6 people! The dish was pretty good. The sauerkraut had a nice flavor to it, and the meats complemented it well. The potatoes seemed out of place in a way, since they weren't really incorporated into the rest of the dish. I couldn't muster too much enthusiasm for this dish, but my special gentleman thought it was great. Indeed he says if we had some in the fridge right now, he would eat some (despite the fact that we ate dinner an hour ago!). I enjoyed eating it, but I am unlikely to come back to this recipe again.

This recipe isn't online.

After more than a month away, I am heading back to Indiana this weekend. It is hard to believe that it was less than 6 weeks ago that I left. We have been so many places and done so many things since that that it feels like I have been away for months. I took a few pictures during my travels. Below is a picture of me with a huge petrified log in the Petrified Forest National Park. I read all the material they handed out at the park but petrification still seems like magic to me. It's crazy how the organic materials in the wood were replaced by things like quartz, while still retaining the exact shape of the wood. Wood turned into stone! Magic!

The Petrified Forest National Park was magical, but the Grand Canyon was spectacular! Here's a picture of my special gentleman on the trail we hiked down at the Grand Canyon. It was very shady and snowy along our hike, but we had lovely views of the sunny side of the canyon!

Taking a little break while hiking at the Grand Canyon:

When we went to Tahoe last weekend we were staying very near to the Squaw Valley Resort. Indeed that is where the skiers among us were skiing. One afternoon Emilee, Sam, and I took a walk over to the resort. We found this enormous chair. Sam looks a little skeptical...

The evenings in Tahoe were spent hanging out in the house, sitting on the huge sofa! Sam looks so tiny compared to the size of that couch!

Next stop: Indiana! I am looking forward to being back in Bloomington for a bit: sleeping in my bed, working in my office, reading my mail, cooking with my equipment etc... And most of all, I am looking forward to meeting Irene, Mike and Teresa's baby, who was born while I was away!

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